Files go missing from government offices all the time. But on this occasion the Income Tax (I-T) department has a legitimate reason.
Thousands of files belonging to various business enterprises are believed stolen from one of the I-T offices at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) after burglars broke into the sixth floor of the building. The department lodged a formal complaint at the local police station on Wednesday.
Lessons have obviously not been learnt. Two years ago an unidentified person had hacked into the e-security of the department and siphoned off about Rs 15 crore meant as refund for taxpayers.
According to I-T sources, on Tuesday morning when some members of the staff arrived at the office, they found out about the missing files. They learnt that the accused entered via a window of ITO 24 (3)-1 department on the seventh floor of building no C-13.
“We have received a complaint. The matter is under investigation. There was lock tampering, but it is not clear whether the files are missing or stolen,” said Chandrakant Bhosale, senior inspector, BKC police station. The lost files belong to private firms from Malad and Goregaon.
“We are satisfied with the police investigation. They came with a dog squad. They also recorded statements of some staffers. It is possible that some people from the department are involved in this matter,” said an I-T officer on condition of anonymity.
According to another officer, there was much rush in the office and surrounds till July 31 as the process of filing of I-T returns was on. Some members of the department have also raised suspicions towards involvement of private guards deployed at the building.
A new security company took charge on August 1 as the preceding one’s agreement had expired the previous day. More than 10 security men patrol three buildings — occupied by the department — in close proximity at any given time. Also, a month back some of the old locks in the office were changed. All the rooms from which files disappeared had new locks.
“We are shocked. I cannot confirm whether the files are missing or have been stolen. We also don’t know the intentions of the persons behind this foul act. We have informed the police and they are investigating the matter,” said I-T officer Ravi Sonawane, who works at the office.
Chief I-T commissioner NP Singh did not respond to MiD DAY’s calls.